Top US Diplomat on Iran Resigns

Ambassador to Russia succeeds Burns, who will keep a hand in India nuke talks
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2008 3:05 PM CST
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leans to kiss the cheek as she announces the retirement of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, left, Friday, Jan. 18, 2008, at the State Department...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Bush administration’s leading diplomat on Iran, a top adviser to Condoleezza Rice, is resigning, the Washington Post reports. Under secretary of state for political affairs Nicholas Burns will leave in March but retain a limited role as a special envoy for negotiations on nuclear matters with India. William Burns (no relation), the American ambassador to Russia, will succeed him.

Burns served in diplomatic positions under both Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. His most notable role of late has been as the top negotiator in talks aimed at stifling Iran's nuclear program. At 51, he cited family reasons—he will soon have three daughters in college—as his reason for stepping down. "This is a very bittersweet time for us," Rice said today.